thank you for joining us on this edition of "newsline". i'm raja pradhan in tokyo. voters in japan have a date to mark on their calendars. abe dissolved the lower house of the diet and set a general election for december 14th. abe has been in office since december 2012. he says he's seeking public support for his economic policies known as abenomics. [ speaking foreign language ] >> reporter: the speaker of the chamber declared the dissolution.
the campaign starts on december 2nd and people will cast their ballots 12 days later. prime minister abe is framing the vote as a choice between abenomics and other alternatives. >> translator: through the election campaign, i would like to ask the people whether our economic policies are right or wrong. i'd like to ask the public whether there are any other options. >> reporter: abe says his government has increased employment, income and corporate profits. he said his economic policies rectified excessive appreciate of the yen and put an end to hallowing out of industries and revitalized smaller businesses. he said abenomics isn't complete until people in rural areas can feel the fruit of the economic recovery. >> translator: we should
maintain and spur the momentum of the virtuous economic cycle. that will enable people in all corners of the country to feel that the economy is recovering. there is no other way. our growth strategy faces arguments from both supporters and opponents. some strongly resist it. i'm determined to push forward with the strategy and better people's lives. >> reporter: abe said he plans to delay a consumption tax hike, and he's determined to reform the nation's finances and improve social security systems. the tax is expected to rise 8% to 10% next october by law, but abe plans to put it off for 18 months. he says it would further improve the nation's economy in three years. before the dissolution, the ruling coalition of abe's party and komeito held two-thirds of
the lower house seats. both parties have officially launched their campaigns. here's what the leaders of some of the major parties have to say. the head of the junior coalition party explains why the ruling coalition remains the best option. >> translator: we have been working to revitalize the economy and end the deflationary spiral under the coalition agreement. it's important we further accelerate this effort. the coalition is the only choice to follow through on these efforts. we are determined to get voters to choose us. zwr. >> he heads the main opposition democratic party and says his party will be more responsive to the people's wishes. >> translator: for the past two years, prime minister abe has been steam rolling through his
policies and ignored constitutionalism on such matters as allowing the country to use its right to collective self defense and the state's secrets bill. we need to question the current administration's policies. >> reporter: the co-leader of the opposition japan innovation party stresses the need for reform, which he says neither the ldp nor dpj can deliver. >> translator: our party is free of vested interest. we pledge to do away with these rights and interests and implement growth strategies or promote deregulation reform in a real sense. that's what we want to communicate to the public in an honest manner to gain its support. people across japan have their opinions on what they want the government to do most. tens of thousands of them in northeastern japan still live in temporary housing more than three and a half years after the quake and tsunami.
>> translator: i want the government to speed up rebuilding efforts. i understand officials are doing their best, but the pace of reconstruction is slow and gradual. >> translator: i want all the problems at the fukushima plant to be settled as soon as possible, including the issue of contaminated water. unless the problems are dealt with quickly, we can't go about our lives like before. >> reporter: families of people abducted to north korea say the early return of the abductees should be a priority. >> translator: i feel extremely frustrated, as we are now trying to seek a break through in the issue by the end of the year. i want the government to continue its efforts and not start all over again. we want to see progress as soon as possible. >> reporter: residents of
okinawa say they want lawmakers to listen to their opinions on the burden of hosting u.s. military bases. >> translator: we are voicing our demand about the issue of the u.s. bases. i want to vote for someone who will listen and act for people of okinawa rather than trying to force the central government's policy on us. prime minister abe hopes to continue tackling the important items on the agenda by winning a mandate on this election. let's look back at what he accomplished the last two years in office. >> abe returned to power for the second time in december of 2012. his liberal democratic party won back the majority in the lower house defeating the nen ruling democratic party of japan. >> translator: let's do our best to return to a strong economy. abe pushed through a collection
of revitalization plans called abenomics, aimed at ending decades of deflation. seven months after he took office, abe and ldp coalition party swept victory again in the upper house election. with both houses under his control, abe gained momentum to proceed with the longstanding defense policy goal. abe and his cabinet gragreed to change the way the constitution had been interpreted. that included allowing the country its right to collective self-defense. they want japan to defend closely relate the countries under atk in certain conditions but that desire has yet to become law. in september, abe reshuffled his cabinet for the first time since he took office in 2012.
he wanted to build fresh support for his policies, including strengthening japan's ability to protect itself. he appointed five fee male ministers in an effort to promote the role of women in society. but two of them resigned within two months of assuming their new positions. over allegations of political funding irregularities and violation of the election law. >> translator: as prime minister, i am responsible for appointing the two ministers. i apologize to the public for creating this situation. >> reporter: recent economic data added to the prime minister's concerns. japan's latest gdp figures show the country's economy shrank in the july to september period. abe wants to postpone a
consumption tax hike which was scheduled for next october. >> i've made an extremely important decision that will affect people's lives and the nation's economy. i've made up my mind that i should seek the mandate of the people without delay. >> opposition parties say abe has called the election in an attempt to conceal the failure of his economic policies. now voters will get a chance to deliver their verdict. >> indian prime minister modi is extending an annual honor to the president of the united states. he's invited barack obama to celebrations in january to mark the day india became a sovereign nation. modi shared the news on twitter. he said he invited obama to become the first u.s. president to attend events for republic day. white house officials then said
obama will be meeting him to strengthen relations. they met in september for the first time since modi took office. they agreed to build stronger economic and security ties. analysts say modi wants to show the importance he attaches to relations with u.s. and highlight india's growing international presence. >> china's central bank has cut its key interest rates for the first time in more than two years. the people's bank of china announced on friday evening that it will cut its one-year deposit rate by 0.25% to 2.75%. the bank said it will also cut its one-year lending rate by 0.4% to 5.6%. the new rates will be effective on saturday. this is the first rate cut since july 2012. analysts say the rate cut is aimed at supporting the slowing economic growth of the country. china's gdp grew by 7.3% year on year in the july to september quarter.
that was the weakest growth since the first quarter of 2009. u.s. senators have criticized jap fees firms takata and honda for taking more than three years to start recalling air bags. executives from both firms testified at a senate hearing. a takata official said the company had been notified of the problem by honda in may 2005. he said takata took appropriate steps in examining the defect before ordering the first recall in november 2008. he denied any attempt to conceal the problem. rick of honda north amica agreed the auto maker could have responded more quickly, but he insisted the company handled the issue properly at the time. lawmakers blame both companies for not doing enough to uphold safety standards. they want a quick nation-wide recall.
the japanese manufacturers said appropriate data is necessary before they take such a measure. one of japan's financial groups is making in roads into the country some people call asia's last frontier. it's tying up with a bank in myanmar to make it easier for japanese companies to do business there. executives at this group say they'll enter a partnership next monday with a bank. they'll gain access to one of the biggest banking operations in the country. they'll be able to serve japanese firms doing business there and advise those thinking of opening up shop. business people in japan see myanmar as a promising market. they expect democratization and economic reform to drive growth. it is one of several japanese banks getting ready to move in. next let's take a brief look at the market figures.
saturday marks half a year for people in thailand since the military there took control in a coup. patchari raksawong at our bureau in bangkok is following the story. it is becoming increasingly unlikely that a parliamentary election to restore civilian rule will be held as originally expected. when the country will return to democracy is still uncertain. here's the report. >> reporter: this former army chief who led the coup now holds the post of interim prime minister.
he has been working on economic policy. this week, he announced a series of policies to reduce the gap between rich and poor, such as an inheritance tax targeting the rich. interim prime minister is working on attracting foreign investment, and the country's economy has begun to bounce back led by strong domestic demand. a survey conducted earlier this year shows he has substantial public support. in the meantime, the cabinet approved a bill to keep a tight reign on protests, demonstrations and rallies. martial raw -- law has yet to be lifted. on wednesday, he visited the northeast of the country for the first time since the coup. most people in this region are hard-line supporters of the
former prime minister shinawatra who was ousted in the political conflict. he was venturing into his opponent's territory, so to speak, to call for reconciliation. as soon as he began his speech, young people stood up one by one. the three-finger salute is a sign of defiance taken from a hollywood movie. five students were arrested on this day, indicating that division in thai society still ran deep. >> translator: whatever the prime minister says, the conflict in this country will not disappear. the people will rise up again. >> reporter: this month, the military abruptly held an event for journalists critical of the government. citizens say the government is denying them freedom of speech.
protesters wore masking tape over their mouth, claiming they'd be arrested if they voiced any criticism of the government. a parliamentary election originally planned for next year is expected to be postponed. it is unlikely that the country will see a shift back to civilian rule any time soon. >> translator: we must ease the serious conflict. please give us more time. we will solve all the problems facing our country. >> reporter: protesters and soldiers are gone from the streets of bangkok. normal life has resumed, but a return to civilian rule remains uncertain. the government is facing a real test in dealing with those who have feelings of dissatisfaction. nhk world, bangkok. interim president suggests he's unfazeed by the three finger salute given by students
protesting the coup. remarks referring to the protesters after plain clothes police officers detained three students, at least one of them gave a three finger salute in front of a movie theater in bangkok on thursday. according to thai broadcaster channel 9, he said he's not worried about the three finger symbol. >> translator: i admire their bravery but it should be used in the right way so the country can move towards the future. . a student who visited the cinema expressed frustration saying that in a democratic state, this degree of freedom of expression should be allowed. and that wraps up our bulletin. i'm patchari raksawong in bangkok.
engineers at japan's crippled nuclear plant are changing tact in their effort to control contamination, struggling to keep water out of the daiichi site's underground tunnels so they are adopting a new technique using cement. the tunnels are flooded with radioactive water from reactor buildings. and engineers tried to stop the inflow by freezing it at both ends but found the levels in the tunnels were changing in sync with those in the buildings. officials admitted the freezing technique hadn't worked and wanted to start pouring cement lat later this month. they are worried it might not stop the water and could crack. they gave the go ahead that the engineers stop the procedure late next month and check whether it's working. a pro north korean group in
japan will be forced to leave its tokyo headquarters. functioned as a north korean embassy in japan as countries don't maintain diplomatic relations. the ownership was officially recognized. the property was use the by the pro-north korean group called the general association of korean residents in japan. it was put on the auction block at the request of a government backed debt collection agency. they filed a document with the tokyo court to prove it had wired the full purchase amount. it paid $19 million. the procedure kpleelted the transfer of ownership. a lawyer for the holdings says firm does not plan to lease or sell the property back to the association and will ask the group to vi indicate the building. and official had no comment on the issue. now in sports, some of the world's top marshall artists are fighting it out near tokyo to choose their world champion.
they are not taking part in the sport from japan. they are experts in sambo, created in russia. over 500 athletes are fighting for the top sambo title. they wear uniforms that originated in judo. they fight using a variety of throwing and grappling techniques. they are competing in regular sport sambo and combat category that involves fist fighting. former world champion says he's a big sambo fan. >> translator: i've already proved the strength of sambo. it's the world's most power if many one on one fighting sport. >> the president of the international sambo federation said the sport is spreading in asia. a japanese pop group is trying to get people to change their tune about trash. they are singing in the streets
while they clean. and some of their fans are helping them along the way. tokyo's neighborhood bustles with young people. on this day, volunteers have shown up for a cleaning event. once a week this group gathers to clean the shopping zringt around the train station. some female volunteers have joined the large number of men at the event. the girls are members of a pop group. ♪ >> reporter: this all female group called clear's, released their debut record in september. and their lyrics encourage
people to clean. ♪ >> translator: it's really hard to be successful if you don't have a specific concept. . when i asked them what they are good at and what is special about them? they said they like to clean and tidy up. so we started to think that cleaning should be their theme. >> reporter: clear's has put together a plan to spruce up the whole country. all of the group's key members are certified cleaning professionals. between meeting their fans and performing in concerts, the members find time to participate in cleaning events organized by npos around the country. removing trash with the help of fans helps make the group a growing concern.
when clear's members go somewhere to pick up trash, scores of fans help. >> translator: it's fun to be able to clean up with them. it's like killing two birds with one stone because the town gets clean, too. i think it's great. >> reporter: today, roughly 40 people took part in the clean-up. they spent more than an hour picking up garbage and separating it. >> translator: we hope that as our fan base grows, people will stop throwing trash on the street and more people will take part in clean-ups like these. >> translator: i hope that our activities will encourage people to keep clean. >> reporter: clear's has made local clean-ups a core activity. so far, the members have formed trash collecting groups in cities like tokyo, osaka.
and nagoya. this publicity has paid off. a cleaning goods company using the performers as brand ambassadors. >> translator: if we can form clear's groups all over the country, our towns will be cleaner. we want to continue to expand to wherever we receive a request. >> translator: our dream is to go overseas to clean and then give a live show. together with our fans. >> reporter: someday, clear's aims to have groups in all 47 of japan's prefectures. they've been gaining attention as a model for success, ever diversifying pop business. there's more to come here on "newsline." but first a three-day outlook on the world's weather.
officials at unicef are celebrating the anniversary of a landmark treaty protecting the world's children. the convention on the rights of the child was signed 25 years ago. the organization invited performers from around the world to an event at u.n. headquarters in new york. artist yoko ono and actor hugh jackman was among the participants, as well as children from different countries. >> you are among the children of the human race, that are wise,
intelligent and powerful. we'll go into a beautiful future together. >> officials say the well being of the children has improved in the last quarter century but they say the poorest youth are twice as likely to die before their fifth birthday. in developing countries, children from poor countries are less likely to go to school and more likely to be forced to work. ♪ imagine all the people >> the purpose of the event was to call attention to protect the rights of children living in such conditions. and that's all for now on this edition of "newsline." i'm raja pradhan in tokyo. from all of us at nhk world, thanks for watching and have a good day, wherever you are.
maybe you have some energy- saving appliances, like an energy star-rated washer and dryer. but what about your tv? chances are it's on more than your washer, dryer, and kitchen appliances combined. did you know that if half of us in the u.s. replaced our regular tvs with an energy star model, the change would be like shutting down a power plant? you can find the energy star on everything from standard to high def to the largest flat-screen your heart desires. ow that makes sense.
this week on "moyers & company" -- senator bernie sanders on breaking big money's grip on democracy. >> owning and controlling our economy is not enough. they now want to own and control the government. and we are not going to allow them to do that. not in richmond, not anywhere. >> announcer: funding is provided by -- anne gumowitz, encouraging the renewal of democracy. carnegie corporation of new york, supporting innovations in education, democratic engagement and the advancement of international peace and security at carnegie.org. the ford foundation, working with visionaries on the front lines of social change worldwide. the herb alpert foundation, supporting organizations whose mission is to promote compassion and creativity in our society. the john d. and